Beckenham teen’s stylish design heads for the London Fashion Week catwalk

By Simon Allin/ Bromley Times

Lauren Algar has her sights set on a career in fashion. She is part of a project aimed at tackling elitism in the fashion industry. A 17-year-old from Beckenham has been given the chance to show off her design on the London Fashion Week catwalk after reaching the final of the Fashion Futures project.

Lauren Algar, who attends Langley Park School, is one of 21 finalists shortlisted from more than 100 teenagers who took part in workshops earlier this year. Their designs, which combine London street wear with Indian sub-continental style, are the result of five days spent with mentors at the University of East London creating their garments for the London catwalk.

Miss Algar, who lives separately with her dad Peter, mum Kate and brother Jack, said she was ‘excited’ to be able to showcase her work. “My design is menswear. I wanted to be a bit different,” she said. “It is a poncho jacket. There are no arms because the top half is quite tight to show the Indian history and lack of freedom until Gandhi – a lot like a straitjacket.

“The bottom half is very flowing and multi-coloured, influenced by the Indian Holi festival. The hat is a turban, which is also influenced by the festival.” The project, run by charity FAD, is aimed at tackling elitism in an industry in which the majority of jobs go to people from privileged backgrounds. “My favourite part was the research,” Miss Algar added. “I did a massive project; I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum because they had a huge India exhibition on.

“I studied Indian freedom, architecture and the Taj Mahal. “I looked into Indian menswear as well – into the shapes of the garments and the reasons behind them. “FAD has been such a good opportunity because I’ve learnt to be more independent.”

Miss Algar’s design will be presented on the London Fashion Week catwalk on September 19 at the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden.

Ahead of the final, a panel of experts will select one winner and three runners-up, the results of which will be announced at the main event. It could be a major step on the road to a career in the industry for the ambitious teenager.

“I am hoping to do a BA in fashion and textiles and have my own fashion studio,” she said. “I have been making things for six or seven years. I do like making garments that are environmentally friendly. “I admire Junky Styling, who shop in charity shops and all their garments are recycled. I like their style a lot.”